10 Unexpected Dangers of Independent Living for the Elderly

Many elderly people prefer to live independently, rather than receiving care assistance. Unfortunately, there are a number of unexpected dangers in independent living for the elderly. Some of these dangers can be solved with the addition of home medical equipment while others may indicate that it might be time to bring in home care assistance or to move your loved one to a care facility.


Falls are one of the most common dangers when an elderly person lives alone. Falls can occur when walking, doing housework, or climbing or descending the stairs. Using a walking aid or a stairlift can reduce the chance of falls occurring.

Poor Nutrition

Shopping and cooking may become difficult for the elderly. An elderly person may make poor nutrition choices and may not eat the right types of foods or enough food that they need for proper nutrition. Malnutrition can be a significant problem for the elderly.


As people age, they tend to naturally forget things. Forgetfulness can become a danger when an elderly person progresses to forgetting important events, like the fact that they left the stove on or that they have a doctor’s appointment.

Over- or Under-Medication

An elderly person living alone runs a risk of over- or under-medicating themselves. Forgetting to take medication, or forgetting that they’ve already taken medication, can create serious health hazards. Providing an elderly person with a labeled pill box can help to ensure accurate dosages.

Bathroom Accidents

The bathroom is a hazardous place, especially for the elderly. Accidents can easily occur when getting in and out of the bath. Installing a walk-in tub can make it both easier and safer for an elderly person to navigate bathing. Grab bars can also make the bathroom safer.

Cooking Hazards

In addition to the bathroom, the kitchen is also the location of frequent accidents, especially as the elderly become less agile and potentially lose awareness of their surroundings.

Poor Visibility

An elderly person’s eyesight may deteriorate with time. If this is paired with dim home lighting, it can create a dangerous situation where the person may collide with furniture, trip over objects, or even fall as a result of not being able to see.

Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene can be a danger to elderly people who live alone. If an elderly person is suffering from depression or memory loss, they may forget to or not be concerned with basic hygiene tasks, such as bathing frequently. As hygiene tasks become more difficult, an elderly person may be less inclined to do them regularly, leading to an unhealthy environment.


When an elderly person lives alone, he or she may face intense loneliness. Elderly people typically have less access to friends and family, especially if they can no longer drive. Loneliness is a very real danger to independent living for the elderly.


In addition to loneliness, depression is also a threat which may arise when elderly people live independently. It’s important to carefully monitor all elderly people for depression, and to seek treatment if symptoms arise. There are certainly dangers to independent living for the elderly, but every situation is different. Home medical equipment can help you to make a home environment as safe for a loved one as possible. Check this article to learn 10 Essential Products That Every Elderly Caretaker Needs.